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I Saw Myself in the Mirror Parts 1 & 2

Written by Dan Brooks

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"My account will not be glorifying, enlightening, condemning, or even potentially resolved by my final words. But it will be a strange and interesting one, which is all I can give at this point in time.


It is perpetuated by everyone, and I do mean everyone, that the eyes are the windows to the soul.


I had the unique experience of seeing into my own eyes, unbridled.


I hope everyone is wrong."



This story will come in parts, I guess chapters if it turns into something more, over the next week or so. I have a number of assignments due for school, with courses primarily graded by written work and contribution-based criteria. That means time and effort for me, despite the calming effects from writing even this portion of the story down. I don't know the ending or even the content of the next posting. This is all stream of consciousness, so I learn as you learn, I realize as you realize.


If you are steadfast in your beliefs: read this story as a metaphor and pure fiction. Psychoanalyze my account of events and provide a reasonable selection of fixations or manifestations of insecurities from deep within my psyche; it may be easier than believing it to be authentic and it would actually comfort me.


If you are a certain kind of person, someone who realizes their identity is simply considering one's self through a carefully crafted lens, a reflection in a mirror, then I do encourage you to read on and explore the events and implications alongside me.


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font-size: 14px; line-height: 19px;">Feedback, requests for clarification, thoughts or theories: all welcome.


Part I


I had a dream a year ago. In retrospect I would say it came hand in hand with a time of personal change, a time of realization. I am going to give an account of my dream, one that is open to interpretation by any more knowledgeable than I on the matter, but true to my experience and my perception.


I don't reliably remember anything prior to this moment in the dream, most likely it was neural feedback and haptic nonsense, but I distinctly remember not only the series of events but my own thoughts and feelings during it. I was in a bathroom, shaped like a rectangle, with the door on the opposite 'short end' in the opposite corner. Beneath my bare feet there was a tile floor, with white squares, around two inches per side, eerily similar to any domestic 'bathroom' setting I could find myself in. I walked in, reached the far corner next to the bath tub and peered behind the shower curtain. It was opaque with mid-range size brass rungs: I remember because I remember the noise of compress the curtain, the rungs sliding on the support beam, with a succinct but lasting ringing resonance. The physical completeness of this experience, the total involvement of my somatic senses, will not go unacknowledged. It will be addressed in good time. Or just time.


At that exact moment, a figure in the door frame laughed, laughed exactly like a teenager would, my head turned to see their silhouette. A shape but but no features. This is the first clue to deciphering my dream in my own mind. Although everything about this dream is dense with semantic symbolism, I suppose intrinsically since it was my subconscious that created it...allegedly.


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Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 19px;">The laugh someone gives when they know a friend considers them-self in potential danger, but the laugh is without similar belief. It is the deceptively non-sadistic laugh of a babysitter or sibling, telling the younger to close the door and chant a forbidden name. An incantation to summon a spirit, or some other urban myth. It empathizes with the person trapped in the bathroom with their own fears, but considers them unfounded and delights that they can witness such a spectacle, such a display of human emotional range. 


I want to make note at this point that I have no referential memory of being afraid or even feeling fear for that matter. There is anxiety, knowledge of a possible outcome. There is surprise, when something is unexpected. There is someone "scaring you", but the pounding heartbeat quickly subsides into laughter. That laughter behind the door. Realizing safety and maintaining control. An interesting millisecond lies between pure, unbridled terror, true mortal fear and realization of loss of control, and the expectancy that it will all be okay. That it is a moment to laugh about. You are still in control..you may even laugh.


 


Part II


 


The bathroom is an interesting environment to stumble upon in a dream. It is only because I was in this bathroom that I still have an unsettling weight, threatening my mental foundation, and existential stability. I heard the laugh, turned my head, and the door shut. Depending on what I try to remember and focus on, the perception of time in the bathroom seems to change. Blame the faculty of retrieval if you may, but I state my sanity

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on the validity of the encoding and the storage of this memory. Particularly due to the nature of the events and my perspective. My account will not be glorifying, enlightening, condemning, nor entirely resolved. But it will be a strange and interesting one, which is all I can give at this point in time.


In dreams, I suppose in my own dreams and experiences, there are three points of view the dreamer has in their dream. The first, a third person experiential perspective: like watching a hologram unfold around you, with no regard for the laws of physics or logical progression. It is almost purely information input, like being the audience for your own subconscious, the characters or players in the dream potentially being you, but also potentially being a rock. The second kind is a first person point of view, with limitations on what the dreamer can see or know at any given time, like a linear adventure. In relation to the first, this point of perspective usually abides by a structural protocol like the laws of physics: the events are experienced, but they still occur one after another. 


The third type of dream is what most consider 'lucid dreaming'. I haven't really been able to buy into this, mostly because everyone I know who promotes it or professes experiences is a stoner or otherwise unreliable source. A lucid dream is a situation during which the dreamer allegedly 'becomes aware they are dreaming' and can interact/affect the dream with their choices and reasoning, all during the dream. With this I have two problems:



  • Having a dream within which you believed yourself to be aware or making decision, when objectively, your realization was an event dreamed up along with the rest of it, can't be distinguished from a 'lucid dream'

  • The perception of time during dreams warps the minds of essentially anyone who remembers them upon waking up. You remember a series or succession of images or events; regard them in memory as occurring in an order (or one after another). Events that never actually occurred. But

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there is temporal depth in the story. A beginning, a middle, and and end, even if the plot is roughly thrown together. Would this not mean that your perception of time is the product of some faculty of the mind active during dreaming? This very same process that 'lucid dreaming' purports to wield or master? Why not escape into time or drastically slow your perception of time during all instances of awareness and live forever? How can you disregard spatial continuity while honing temporal continuity, bending its edge to rob time of a few seconds?

The locus of control in lucid dreams is perceived as internal, with the individual 'choosing' what to do. It is also intrinsically external, as the 'aware self' is present in an environment of its own construction and creation. So is it really 'choosing' or manipulating during the dream?



At this point in the story I go down several avenues of logical analysis, deductive reasoning, and inference. I tried to express it and contain in a few broken paragraphs. If you can navigate it and follow the breadcrumbs of sanity, the conclusion I reach will be of much more value to you.


Once again, you must decide:



  • You can skip to the lines at the end of the post, and read the words in bold.

  • You can go one step further down the rabbit hole, and feel the words in bold.



It is manipulating itself: through thoughts and choices, decisions and intention. Therein lies the flaw. In order for the "aware self" to be capable of intention within the dream, the unaware remainder [of self] is by default also the product of or medium for an intentional process, otherwise the causality of

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'lucid dreams' is simply the perceptive illusion I previously mentioned.


How can part of a whole become truly self-aware without becoming aware of the remaining part? Because if it does, then not only is it 'aware' that the remainder cannot posses awareness itself, but also that any influence, interaction, or manipulation is recursive, as it is the only thing able to be influenced..because...as previously stated..it is the only thing aware of its own choice/awareness.


It has to know what it isn't in order to know what it is..right?


Otherwise there is nothing to be manipulated or influenced, just a kid in a sandbox, convinced he is manipulating the sand against its will and choosing his own sandbox destiny. 


Either the 'aware dreamer', the 'dream world' and whatever ['physical or nonphysical'] substance that it consists of, are all of or created by one essence, and therefore any perceived choice or influence is simply illusory as part of the dream, or there is a curious possibility that is introduced.


If we become "aware" and influence the dream's events(or manipulate the [perceived as] external environment in any possible way), and it is not of the same substantial essence as we are (and were prior to awareness), then what is it?


It is something independent from us. It is actually of a different source or

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exists by/because of a distinctly "not us" faculty or process.


It is some essence, or entity, or distinct 'awareness' that has the capability to influence through action and intention. Something, the nature of which I am not yet certain of, that is utterly and specifically not of my mind or self.


Welcome to the source of my fear.


Step into the bathroom with me.


Ignore the laughter.


Ignore what you are about to see in the mirror. 


 


Part III to come soon. Sleep-aids only last so long.


Keywords: philosophy, dreams, lucid, fear, mirror

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